NSA Reforms Are a Step in the Right Direction but Do Not Go Far Enough

January 17, 2014

WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2014) - In response to President Barack Obama's remarks on reforms to the National Security Agency's surveillance programs Daniel Castro, Senior Analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), releases the following statement.

"The President's announcement today that his administration would begin to implement reforms on the data gathered by the intelligence community introduced some positive steps to restore confidence in how the U.S. government gathers intelligence and protects the privacy of individuals. In addition, the President was correct to argue that U.S. intelligence agencies should retain for now their ability to analyze meta-data as this type of tool may provide useful insights in the future.

However, the reforms discussed today do not go far enough to establish the types of structural reforms needed to protect the economic interests of the United States. Specifically, the President should clearly and unequivocally state that the policy of the U.S. government is to strengthen, not weaken, cyber security and renounce the practice of having intelligence agencies work to introduce backdoors and other vulnerabilities into commercial products. In addition, the President should work with other countries to establish common rules on when intelligence communities can access foreign data so as to promote zones of free trade in digital goods and services."


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.